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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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Regulating Unfair Trade New ed

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Pietro NivolaVisiting Fellow, Governmental Studies Program, Brookings Institution, USA

ISBN13: 9780815760900
ISBN: 0815760906
Published: December 1992
Publisher: The Brookings Institution
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print



In the early 1980s, American complaints about unfair trade practices began to intensify. Sunrise industries such as manufacturers of semiconductors and telecommuniications equipment joint older complainants, including steel and textile producers, in seeking more safeguards against foreign competitors who priced their products too aggressively or whose governments subsidized exports or protected home markets. They demanded that increasingly stringent rules be enforced against the worst offenders.;In this book, Pietro Nivola analyzes the US government's efforts to combat the objectionable trading practices of other countries. Through most of the postwar period, Nivola notes, policymakers had deemed it in the nation's economic and strategic interests to tolerate asymmetries and infractions in the international trading order. But that tolerance has been sharply lowered by new sensitivity to inequities and a growing conviction that government should intervene to ensure a ""level playing field"".;Nivola maintains that foreign protectionism and American decline in the face of international competition cannot completely explain the stiffening regulation of unfair trade. The world trading system, he argues, is not more restrictive now than it was before and the crises about foreign commercial transgressions have remained strident despite a formidable US export boom. Some of the US regulatory activity has acquired a political momentum of its own, in part because it offers policymakers the ends and means to aid constituents at relatively little risk.;Nivola cautions that trade regulation now bears too much of the burden for ameliorating economic imbalances and deficiencies. The resulting sense of frustration induces demands for still more regulatory remedies. While recognizing the need for more explicit and responsible trade policy, Novola concludes that such a policy must be based, first and foremost, on realistic expectations. More than lip service will have to be paid to the fact that trade actions cannot continue to take precedence over a more basic agenda: improvement in the national rates of saving and investment, better preparation of the work force, and changes in industrial organization - all of which are likely to be far more consequential for the nation's long-term competitiveness and living standards.

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